Is police officer responsible for fellow officer’s death?

He has never been criminally charged, but police constable Glenwayne Grant is believed to be the man who shot and killed plainclothes police detective Dean Yearwood Jr. while responding to a robbery in progress at the corner of Nargusta Street and Central American Boulevard in Belize City in September of 2013. Yearwood, who was off duty was held up by one Brian Vasquez for his firearm, which he used on the would-be robber. Grant, also in plain clothes and leaving special duty, rode up on the scene and opened fire 11 times, but one of his shots caught his fellow officer and killed him. Now Yearwood’s family is suing the Department and Government for the unlawful death of their loved one. The case took place this week in the Supreme Court before Justice Sonya Young. The Yearwood family is being represented by Philip Palacio, who spoke to our colleagues at 7 News.

Philip Palacio – Attorney for Yearwood Familyvlcsnap-2015-07-13-10h40m25s237

“IN this case, there has been no dispute as to who the shooter was and there has been no dispute as to where the fatal bullet came from. It came  from Mr. Grant. He did not dispute it at all. We brought a claim on behalf of the family after 20 months after the incident. No criminal charges has been brought against anybody and we have been negotiating with the Government for a while and so this matter had to come to court. We realized solely on the evidence of Mr. Ryan Swift who is the homeowner where the incident occurred… directly where the incident had occurred, on the corner of Nargusta and Central American Boulevard.    Mr. Swift essentially came to court and he said that he witnessed the incident and while the defendant claimed that he fired in self-defense, Mr. Swift statement is totally different. he witnessed a struggle in his yard between two persons and all of sudden, put of the blues,  someone else came and fired shots. The story that came out afterwards was that there was some robbery and Mr. Grant came upon the scene. Upon coming upon the scene, he then start to get a control of the situation and then shots were fired. “

Grant who worked at Precinct 1 has suggested that he did not recognize his fellow officer and that Yearwood fired first and he only responded in kind. Among those who testified were the neighbour who witnessed the incident – Ryan Swift – and a ballistics officer from the National Forensic Science Service. Palacio contends that the court must decide whether Grant’s actions were justifiable, or whether they were reckless or negligent.

Philip Palaciovlcsnap-2015-07-13-10h40m34s73

“We started working at the end of June. Nonetheless it was a little bit late in terms of starting a  couple months before the one-year period had expired for us to bring any claims against the Government, so we had to move pretty fast. In terms of the sentiments expressed by the family… the family of course feels very aggrieved  by this entire situation. We did our best, we put forward our evidence.  Of course, in this case, there is the Singular tribunal. We have one tribunal of fact and one tribunal of the law, so it is Her Ladyship who will make a determination as to the quality of the evidence that we put forward.”

 

 Justice Young is to rule following written submissions by both sides.

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